Review: Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds offer quality, control and excellence

Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds
Can the company's new earbuds offer a performance that belies that low price? Photo credit: Newshub

I've lost count of the number of headphones and earbuds I've tried in 2021 with each and every one of them offering something different.

One brand I hadn't reviewed, however, was Technics a name that always brings a smile to my face. It was on a Technics modular stereo in my parents' living room that I fell in love with music back in the day.

With no more headphones or earbuds to review this year, will the old adage of saving the best to last hold, or is Technics' offering destined to be an also-ran in an already-crowded market?

I've been using the Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds for a week now and here are my thoughts.

The good

The first surprise with the Technics came in the box itself - seven sizes of silicone eartips to ensure these fit to perfection and you get a good seal for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

If the company wanted to ensure it made a good first impression, it succeeded. Nothing says 'we care about your comfort' more than earbuds that cater to a wide range of sizes and shapes.

Getting the perfect fit also meant these were comfortable to wear over an extended time period, too, helped by being relatively light at around 7g each.

I headed out for a nice long walk last weekend and noticed no discomfort in either ear, which isn't something I can say about every pair I've worn.

While strolling I appreciated the strong performance of the ANC. The ubiquitous logging trucks and SUVs out my way zoomed past without me having to pause my music or rewind my podcast, which is always a good sign.

Technics says you can get up to seven hours on a single charge with ANC on, but in my experience it would have to be at a low level to do so. After two hours of use at 100 percent ANC, both earbuds had a little over 50 percent remaining, signalling you can expect about four hours or so on a full charge.

The Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

If you prefer ambient sounds with your music then lowering or switching ANC off will give you significantly longer. 

The slim charge case offers a further 24 hours of charge, again depending on your use. It's about the average level of battery life and performance I've come to expect from this quality of earbuds.

Of course, all of the above is redundant if the earbuds don't deliver quality when it really matters. Thankfully the Technics do, with aplomb.

As someone who likes to think of themself as something of a music aficionado there's nothing better than kicking back, closing your eyes and luxuriating in high-quality music and that's exactly what I got here.

The 8mm drivers give a tremendous, full sounding experience with a balance that I've found quite rare. It means you're going to hear those little details in songs you miss on lower quality headphones.

The default sound is more than good enough for everyday listening but, in the Audio Connect app which is used to update firmware, set your ANC level and more, I found the 'dynamic' setting perfect for my ears.

I'm very familiar with headphones packing in too much bass, or delivering tinny top-ending sounds that seem to distort vocals, but none of that was an issue with the AZ60s.

I went through many different types of music looking to poke some holes in the performance including Bjork's brilliant Debut, The Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill, Max Richter's The Blue Notebooks and instead was just able to enjoy hearing the music the way it's supposed to sound.

Or at least the way I think it's supposed to sound. I suspect those with a true ear for music will notice some differences when compared to top-end expensive models, but given I'm slightly deaf in one ear and went to way too many loud concerts in my formative years, I was nothing but satisfied.

The Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

The on-ear controls are almost as good as the sounds.

While they can be a little sensitive when you're adjusting them in your ear, generally they are responsive and you're able to easily control the difference between single and multi-taps.

Even better, you can adjust the volume simply by multi-tapping and if the configuration isn't to your liking then the app lets you set up to four different functions for each earbud. Brilliant!

It's hard not to overstate just how nice it is not to have to invoke the name of a smart assistant or reach for my phone just to turn the volume up when a great song comes on.

Finally, I found the calling quality of the AZ60s to be as good as any other I've tried recently. They have four mics per earbud: One that cancels outside noise, a feedback mic for inside noise and two voice detection mics.

I had no trouble hearing the person on the other end of the phone and vice versa, even with some simulated loud noises in the background.

As an added bonus, the app has a function which allows you to hear how your voice sounds to a person on the other end so you're able to judge for yourself whether your environment could cause issues before you make the call.

The Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds app
Photo credit: Newshub

The bad

There's nothing inherently bad about the AZ60s, but there are some minor issues that may be more important to some depending on intended use.

I already have preferred headphones for exercising and the Technics aren't going to displace those.

The IPX4 rating means it'll handle an Auckland shower and a wee bit of sweat, but the biggest issue was the seal breaking while pounding the pavements, making them feel slightly insecure.

Walking was fine, but once I'd broken into a trot I felt in danger of losing one or both at any point, perhaps as a consequence of their top-heavy design.

If you're looking for a set to use in the gym, then I'm not sure these are for you.

There's also no ability to wirelessly charge the case, although a standard USB-C cable does a fine job. I'm okay with that, as I still find wireless charging a little gimmicky; but with rival products - including cheaper sets - offering that functionality, it could be considered a miss.

The Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

The AZ60s are missing in-ear sensors to pause and resume playback when you take them out or put them back in, which is a little disappointing.

That function is almost taken for granted these days and I accidentally missed a whole lot of a favourite podcast because I put them on my desk instead of in the case when I took them out.

And so to my final petty annoyance: To find out exactly how much battery there is remaining you need to access the app.

Yes, this isn't uncommon, but I would still much prefer a simple audio prompt that announces battery percentages.

The verdict

The Technics AZ60s are right up there amongst the best earbuds and headphones I've tested all year.

Not only are they comfortable to use, but the great on-ear controls means I don't have to reach for my phone every few seconds while using them - and they sound fantastic.

The Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

Normally a pair will set you back $329, around the same kind of price you'd pay for Apple's AirPods 3 - which lack ANC. I'd consider that very good value for the functionality offered.

However in the run up to Christmas they're available for even less, with one online store offering a pair for $218. At that price, they're an absolute bargain.

If I hadn't been such a naughty boy this year, I'd have been asking Santa for a set in my Christmas stocking, for sure. Hopefully you've been better behaved!

Newshub was supplied a pair of Technics EAH-AZ60 true wireless earbuds for this review.